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Your grief will become joy

 

Gospel: Jn 16:20-23

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JESUS said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

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The birth of the Church is likened to a woman in labor. It is by the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Risen Christ, that the first Christian community is born. The pangs of separation from its mother, the Israelite nation, will be eased by the birth of the “new people of God” through the sacrificial offering of Jesus on the Cross, intertwined with the persecution of the Christians.

As the Vatican II Decree Ad Gentes (n 15) describes it: “The Holy Spirit, who calls all men to Christ by the seeds of the Word and by the preaching of the Gospel, stirs up in their hearts a submission to the faith. When in the womb of the baptismal font, He begets to a new life those who believe in Christ, He gathers them into the one People of God which is ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people’ (1 Pt 2:9).”

The formation of the Catholic Church is the result of many centuries of persecution and martyrdom. Even until now, the Church continues to grow amidst contradictions, yet is never crushed. The Spirit regenerates and renews itself.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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